Milo Payton Peck // Officially

Ithas almost been a year since we were first introduced to the agency and theexpectant mother that would change our lives completely.

A Photo from our Match Announcement // March 2018

February26, 2018, we were contacted by a friend about a potential situation. It was outof agency, out of state, and completely out of our control.  Three days later, after anxiouslycorresponding with Payton (the expectant mother) and getting to know herbetter, she decided to choose us! Then began the waiting game for Baby M to beborn.

I remember those two months like they were yesterday. I was so excited for him to be born and so terrified that she would change her mind. I remember thinking how we had waited for him for so long (over 5 years) and how each day leading up to his due date felt like forever.

Despiteall of my planning and preparing, Milo made his grand entrance into the world amonth early. Eight months later and he is still doing things in his own timeand on his own terms.

The whole time we waited to become parents we imagined our future child. We pictured who they would be and all the things we would do as a family. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that is Milo. He is better than anything we could have hoped for or imagined. We thank God for him every single day.

Nothing about our journey to parenthood has been easy or direct. Infertility almost destroyed our marriage and the long wait to adopt almost destroyed us personally. But I would not change a thing because it brought us to Payton. I still am in awe of her bravery and her love for Milo.

Our relationship with Payton and her family has been the biggest surprise and the biggest blessing. We had no idea how much of a bond we would feel with Milo’s birth family.  We are so thankful that she changed her mind and chose an open adoption with us. She encourages me daily and it is an absolute joy to share pictures and videos with her. Open adoption is a beautiful thing.

Milo is so incredibly loved.

So how can I sum up the last 8 months, well really the last 5 years. We started this journey full of hope and completely naïve. We assumed we would match quickly and become parents, despite the statistics and long agency waiting lists. We had no idea how long the entire process would take.

Forthe most part we remained optimistic, even after the first agency ended upbeing a complete waste of our time and money. After months with the second agency and multiple rejections fromexpectant mothers, we started to loose hope.

We survived each holiday thinking it would be the last one we would experience childless. We watched all of our friends get pregnant and start their families. We ignored all the unwarranted advice and suggestions from naysayers. We focused on building our home, adventuring to new places and spending intentional time together.

Our home and our hearts were ready, we just had no idea who we were waiting for.

All of the paperwork, the waiting, the longing, the rejection, the brokenness and despair were completely worth it. I can look back now and see how God was preparing our hearts for Milo. He had chosen Milo for us and I would do it all over again just to be his mother.

Andnow here we are…8 months later and we get to officially call him our own.Social worker visits, court ordered documents, judge approved paperwork, andall the hurdles have been completed. We will sit in that courtroom with our sonand legally promise to care for him (physically and emotionally) for as long ashe needs. The honor and the responsibility are not lost on me.

Finalizing Milo’s adoption feels like the culmination of our adoption journey, but really it is only the beginning. One signature cannot capture a lifetime of parenthood. Its in the big and the little things of life….the nighttime feedings and the first steps, packing lunches and learning to read, the conversations and the heartbreaks, the comforting and the celebrating,  the hugs and the goodbye waves, the school dances and the college essays.

We get the honor and responsibility of raising him, of shaping him, providing for all his needs, and most importantly, loving him.

We get the opportunity to declare in front of our family and the judge all the promises we have made from the moment we said yes. Milo, we will be there for the ups and the downs, the firsts and the lasts, the trials and the triumphs. We will hold you when you cry, help you get back on your feet when you fall, and guide you as you grow. We will share all of the things: laughter, adventures, rugby, french fries, and a love for DIY.

We love you to the moon and back , Milo Payton, and we are so thrilled to officially call you our son.

xoxo Ashley

Mother's Day // Past, Present & Future

Two years ago, I sat proud during church and told myself it would be the last Mother's Day I would experience without being a mother. We had just signed and became active with our agency two months earlier, and we were so confident that Baby M would come home that year. It didn't help that most people we spoke to affirmed our desires to adopt that summer. It also didn't help that most of our friends were becoming mothers for the first time that spring and summer of waiting. We were so sure that it was our time, and that no one deserved a baby more than us.

Well as you all know, God's timing didn't match up with ours.

Looking back over the first year of waiting, I can see how God began preparing us to be parents. All of the things we hadn't figured out, that were out of our control, God was working out for us.

 One year ago, Mother's Day weekend snuck up on me and affected me more than I could of ever predicted. Most of my friends who were mothers or planned on becoming mothers all had a Mother's Day brunch together. For the first time, I realized that my journey to motherhood has been almost invisible. It is not acknowledged like the traditional route to parenthood.  I do not have the positive pregnancy test, the gender reveal party, the pre-natal classes or the growing bump to prove my motherhood.

It sent me down a deep dark hole that I could not climb out of for days. For months I had been dealing with our infertility and waiting in such a positive and God-centered way that I could only say was by the grace of God. I would be asked at baby showers and baby birthday parties about how I kept my composure and didn't break down at my own longing and emptiness. And honestly, my personal struggles and longings have never been impacted by those already blessed with families. Which is why Mother's Day weekend and my response came as such a shock.

This year, as you all know, Mother's Day holds so much hope and promise for me. Baby M has yet to enter the world, but motherhood is just around the corner. But this Mother's Day I also feel the loss for our expectant mother, who is making the ultimate sacrifice so that my arms will be full next Mother's Day, and hers will be empty.

Motherhood, for me, will never look the same as most people. I would love to say that I have fully come to terms with that, but I am still human. Even now, I have to convince myself that I deserve the same things all traditional mothers have, and that even though my journey to motherhood looks different than most, I am no less a mother than them.This Mother's Day, thank the women in your life who have shaped you, inspire you, and sacrifice themselves daily for their children. But also think of the women who are still waiting for their baby, who have struggled with their infertility and longing, who have felt the unbearable loss of a child. And think of the men who stand with them on this impossible day, who support and encourage them, and feel the loss just as much.

Happy Mother's Day

xoxo Ashley

 

The Struggle is Real

It’s officially been a year since I started this blog…which means that we have officially been on our adoption journey for more than 365 days. Its been a few months since my last blog post, and I think its time for some real talk... Adoption has been apart of my story for almost a decade. It has been on my heart since I was 16 and I have always known it would be a part of how I grew my family one day. Now that might sound a little cray cray because how can anyone know what the future holds? Well you can call it whatever you want but when it comes to my call to adoption, I have not wavered once. 

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 Over the past 365 days I have been blessed with a divine sense of peace about who I will be as a mother and a steady trust in God to provide me with the children I am to care for. Friends have asked me how I am doing with the waiting process, and for the most part I have trusted God’s timing and provision (honestly and truthfully!). But I have only realized recently the walls that I have put up defensively to protect myself. When people question me about adoption, it has been easier to talk about not wanting to get pregnant or do the whole birthing a baby thing. Now while those are true due to my current health and the uncertainty of what daily issues pregnancy could contribute to an already complicated life, I haven’t shared the whole truth with most people. The whole truth is that my husband and I tried and failed to conceive for about a year. This was one of the hardest years of my life and a very trying time for our marriage. Each month I felt like a broken mess that for whatever reason couldn’t do what I was created to do. Not many people know about that year…because it is easier to smile and laugh then it is to cry and weep with those we surround ourselves with. And I am really good at putting up a strong front. 

"Oh you're adopting...I'm so sorry!" - the general public

 Over the past five years we have faced enough pity from those who hear about our plans to adopt. When you throw infertility in to the mix, the responses become unbearable. Infertility is accompanied by shame and disappointment and pity, not just from the couple directly experiencing it, but also from those who are made aware of it. Friends, family, strangers…but most importantly those who are ignorant to the struggles of infertility end up making the most impact with those who are experiencing infertility. I was adamant about this journey of adoption being documented for our future children to read. I want them to know how much they are longed for, wanted and loved. However, I think I have tried to separate our calling to adoption from our struggles with infertility. I wanted our future adopted children to know they were loved and wanted without the messy dialogue that infertility brings. And because of that, I have denied myself of the support I so terribly need. 

I waited and waited and waited for God.At last he looked; finally he listened.Psalm 40:1

 Most of the time I am still trusting in God’s timing and provision. However, there are moments, gut-wrenching and time-stopping moments, where I am floored with the feelings of longing and emptiness. Where I shut down and forget all the ways in which I am blessed. I know deep down that I will make a wonderful mother, if only I were given the chance. I can’t possibly know why my path is different than most. I don’t know why God is making me wait when almost everyone I know doesn’t have to. I am so overjoyed by those I know who are already growing their families. And I trust that those little ones that will be entrusted to us are coming soon…in their own way and in their own time. 272060_1827832057294_7540181_o  47402_555309150861_6387024_n I look over at my husband…my darling Will. He is patient and kind and so understanding. He has agreed to walk this earth by my side, all the days of our lives. In him I find my support, my encouragement, and my strength to continue this crazy journey we have embarked on. Without him, I could not carry on. 40084_554116680581_766383_n256376_3354546584128_1856047773_o So friends, family, strangers…when you hear of someone experiencing infertility…please do not pity them. Do not give them advice on how to conceive (seriously…that happens!!). And when a crazy couple says to you that they are pursuing adoption…don’t tell them they are brave or better than yourself for doing something so uncommon. Don’t separate yourselves from them…rejoice with them…encourage them…pray for them! Don’t complain about your pregnancy when there are those who will never get to experience that miracle. Instead, support them by walking alongside them…by asking the hard questions…by being a shoulder to cry on. Don’t ask them how the waiting is going…ask them how their heart is faring through it all. Understand that every pregnancy and birth they witness is bittersweet. 

You are a saviorAnd you take brokenness asideAnd make it beautiful-All Sons & Daughters

 Research shows that 1 in every 8 couples experiences infertility. That means that in every close friendship group, someone is most likely experiencing infertility of some sort. I am that friend. It is time that I own who I am fully. It is time that I embrace the person God has created me to be. I don't know how He will do it, but I know that he will take this brokenness and make it beautiful.